Unifor applauds court decision that City of Ottawa ‘abandoned’ taxi drivers by giving into Uber

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A dark coloured Ottawa taxi.

OTTAWA– Unifor applauds yesterday’s Ontario Superior Court ruling that the City of Ottawa was negligent in enforcing its taxi bylaw when it allowed Uber to illegally operate in 2014 for two years, effectively harming the taxi industry – many of whom are Unifor members.

“Hard-working, established taxi drivers in Ottawa finally have some justice after being abandoned by their city, who succumbed to the whims of multinational tech giants,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne.

“Meanwhile, hundreds of families relying on incomes from taxi services were left to fend for themselves without any support from the City of Ottawa.”

Metro Taxi Ltd. and plate holders Marc André Way and Iskhak Mail filed a $215-million class action lawsuit against the City of Ottawa on behalf of approximately 1,187 taxi plate holders in the city in 2016.

Justice Marc Smith found the city failed to uphold its own bylaws to restrict the ride-hailing service from operating at that time, and “capitulated” to Uber’s bullying tactics when they wanted in on the Ottawa market.

"Rather than continuing its partnership with the taxi industry to fight against this stronger illegal bandit taxicab company known as Uber, the city decided to abandon its partner," Smith said in his decision.

Unifor currently represents over 1,000 taxi drivers in Ottawa who work at Blue Line Taxi, Capital Taxi and Westway Taxi.

“The negligence of the city caused drivers irreparable loss to the value of their plates,” said Unifor Ontario Regional Director Samia Hashi. 

“Plates that were once worth upwards of $300,000 are now worth $10,000 or less. While we can’t turn back the clock on what happened, our union is pleased to see the courts make the City of Ottawa and Uber accountable.”

Unifor represents 20,000 members across the road transportation sector.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For more information, please contact Unifor National Communications Representative Jenny Yuen at @email or (416) 938-6157.

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Jenny Yuen

National Communications Representative